Find Forestry expertise in Tonga
Forestry, agriculture and fisheries contribute around 26 per cent of Tonga’s GDP (2008). Tonga has a limited number of forests; just 5% of the country is forested and the size of the forests has been remained virtually unchanged since 1990 (2005). There is only 4,000 hectares of natural hardwood forest, which became a protected national park under the Parks and Reserves Act (1976). Other forests are exotic plantation forests and coconut plantations. The coconut plantations are Tonga’s largest timber resource with land accounting for around 48,000 ha. Every male over the age of 16 is entitled to land on which they are legally obligated to grow 200 coconut trees but lack of available land has made this unrealistic. The forestry sector plays an important role in Tonga’s economic development and the government passed a Forest Act in 1991 which set in motion the Forestry Three-Year Rolling Plan which is reviewed and adjusted annually. Under the three year plan the three priority areas for development are the implementation of an agro-forestry development programme, plantation establishment, and conservation and research. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Food and Fisheries is the public body responsible for the forestry sector.